Donald Trump is not a happy camper and his White House is devolving into a circular firing squad. He just can’t believe this Russia stuff is clouding all his policy initiatives to Make America Great Again, like stripping healthcare coverage from 20-some million people. The Washington Post writes that Trump “fumes” while his senior aides “circle one another with suspicion”:
President Trump — who has been hidden from public view since returning last weekend from a divisive international summit — is enraged that the Russia cloud still hangs over his presidency and is exasperated that his eldest son and namesake has become engulfed by it, said people who have spoken with him this week.
Or as the New York Times put it:
The Russia story has become the brier patch from which the president seemingly cannot escape.
This is truly comical. Trump publicly begged Russia to hack Hillary’s emails and then release them, which Vladimir Putin essentially did. Trump packed his entire campaign full of people with seedy Russia connections and then proceeded to change the entire Republican posture toward Russia. In the meantime, his son actively sought damaging intel from the Kremlin that would help his father win the White House. And Trump just can’t figure out how in the heck this Russia thing keeps dogging him. Take a look in the effing mirror, buddy.
Even supporters of Trump Jr. who believe he faces no legal repercussions privately acknowledged Tuesday that the story is a public relations disaster — for him as well as for the White House. One outside ally called it a “Category 5 hurricane.”
Infighting is the White House norm. Reince Priebus is reportedly on the chopping block—again (but who the heck else would be stupid enough to take his position?). And Trump’s private lawyer is considering resigning (#news!).
Mr. Kasowitz and his colleagues have been deeply frustrated by the president. And they have complained that Mr. Kushner has been whispering in the president’s ear about the Russia investigations and stories while keeping the lawyers out of the loop, according to another person familiar with the legal team. But one person familiar with Mr. Kasowitz’s thinking said his concerns did not relate to Mr. Kushner.
The president’s lawyers view Mr. Kushner as an obstacle and a freelancer more concerned about protecting himself than his father-in-law, the person said. While no ultimatum has been delivered, the lawyers have told colleagues that they cannot keep operating that way, raising the prospect that Mr. Kasowitz may resign.
In the meantime, White House staffers are multi-directional finger pointing over their botched response to Jr.’s Kremlin-linked meeting, which resulted in successive statements—each worse than the last—over several days. Don Jr. finally went on Fox news Tuesday night to defend himself, but other than Trump’s heartwarming endorsement of his namesake as a “high-quality person,” no one has really stepped forward to offer a robust defense of him.
In the West Wing, meanwhile, fear of the Mueller probe effectively paralyzed senior staffers as they struggled to respond.
Looks like that criminal investigation has really got Team Trump down in the mouth. Who could’ve known collusion would be so complicated?